Signing an NBA contract is never a bad way to spend a birthday. And that’s exactly what newly turned 27-year-old Shabazz Napier did Saturday afternoon, agreeing to a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent guard Shabazz Napier has agreed to a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, league sources tell ESPN. Napier, 27, had his best pro season with the Blazers last year.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 14, 2018
Napier joins a promising backcourt in Brooklyn
Napier is coming off a career-best season backing up Damian Lillard in Portland. The UConn product played in 74 games — starting 10 — and averaged a career-best 8.7 points per game in 20.7 minutes per night. Napier fit in nicely on the Trail Blazers’ bench and shot a career high 42 percent from the floor. After spending the first three years of his professional career riding the bench for Miami, Orlando and then Portland, Napier emerging in his fourth season was key in helping the Blazers to the third-best record in the Western Conference.
He’ll hope to do more of the same, likely off the bench again, in Brooklyn, which already features D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie at point guard. The Nets have been one of the offseason’s busiest teams. On Thursday, they traded the oft-injured Jeremy Lin to Atlanta. That move came just moments before they brought in Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur and a 2019 first- and 2020 second-round pick from the Nuggets, who were looking to dump salary. Earlier in the summer, the Nets traded Timofey Mozgov for Dwight Howard, only to buyout Howard, who later signed with Washington.
Though it’s been a long and arduous process, the Nets have done a nice job trying to rebuild around young players such as Russell, Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. They hope Napier can be the next piece of that puzzle. Furthermore, the Nets should have a massive amount of cap space for a 2019 free agency class that could include names such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jimmy Butler and plenty of other big names.
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